Philosopher of Science and Science Historian

rev. prof. dr hab. Stanisław KamińskiStanisław Kamiński (1919-1986)1, philosopher, philosopher of science and historian of science, in 1938-1946 studied philosophy and theology at the catholic seminaries in Jan ów Podlaski and in Siedlce, and then at the Catholic University in Lublin (KUL), where, in 1949, he defended his PhD thesis on Frege's axiomatic system of the sentence logic in the light of the contemporary methodology of deductive science. Since 1957 he was the head of the Chair of Methodology (the first one in Poland, founded in 1952 by J. Iwanicki) at the KUL, since 1965 the associate and since 1970 the full professor of KUL. He was the dean of the Faculty of Philosophy at KUL for many years and gave the methodological foundations for the »Lublin-school of philosophy«.

S. Kamiński's main fields of interest were: history of science and logic, general and special methodology, methodology of philosophy and (medieval) semiotics. He saw his main achievements in the domain of the theory of science and the methodology of classical philosophy, especially in the studies of the method and language of metaphysics. He gave a methodological description of general metaphysics, philosophical anthropology, ethics, philosophy of religion, philosophy of history and studies on religion (religiology). He investigated the beginnigs of the mathematical induction in the Middle Ages and in modern times, modern history of the theory of definition (Th. Hobbes, B. Pascal, J. Locke, E. B. de Condillac, J. D. Gergonne), the theory of argumentation (reasoning), the structure and the evolution of scientific theory, the deductive method (B. Pascal, G. W. Leibniz, G. Frege), the achievements of logic and philosophy in Poland.

A characteristic feature of his philosophical and methodological approach was a specific historicism, consisting of referring to the heritage of the past and at the same time to the latest achievements in logic and philosophy of science. He looked to history for inspiration, for how to solve his own problems and for a partial confirmation of legitimacy of his answers. He also used history to better understand the context of the discussed problems. S. Kamiński was a kind of polyhistorian, an encyclopedic mentality, with a tendency to notice every fact significant to the solution of some problems, interested in classifying and systematizing. His belief that a comprehensive study of a phenomenon has to take into account its genesis, structure and functions was of great didactic value.

S. Kamiński claimed to belong principally to two philosophical traditions: to classical philosophy and to analytical philosophy, both in its scholastic pattern and in the pattern of the Lvov-Warsow school of philosophy. To the first tradition — the realistic theory of being and knowledge — he owed his philosophical and historical interests; to the second — his logical and methodological interests in science. In his philosophical and methodological evolution he went through three characteristic stages: from an anti-metaphysical attitude, where he was enchanted with the possibilities of formal logic, to a methodological and pro-metaphysical attitude, and in the end to a clearly philosophical and sapiential attitude. In the first period he accepted and faithfully imitated the philosophy of science of the logical empiricism, which he

latter modified with the Popperism, strengthened afterward — to evoid scepticism — with intellectualism: a view that the person possesses an intellect (intellectus primorum principiorum) as a special cognitive faculty as well as discursive reason and senses.

S. Kamiński's research ranged wide and deep also because of his philosophical provenance. Since he was interested in the problems of contemporary philosophy, he looked for inspiration and philosophical foundations for his studies of the conceptions of science in the ideal of classical philosophy which came from Aristotle, with which he identified more and more. Postulating to practice philosophy within a methodological culture, he did it for the benefit of the classical philosophy. He understood philosophy as a fundamental discipline whose aim was to detect the foundations of science and at the same time to lay foundations under the scientific knowledge. He defended the autonomy of philosophy against empirical sciences and at the same time proclaimed the openness of philosophy to sciences, which form the heuristic basis of philosophy. It is clear that fallibile results of science cannot be a foundation for a philosophy which attempts to supply the necessary knowledge as the classical philosophy wants to do.

The methodological interests of S. Kamiński are characterized by a philosophical and historical approach. He had a broad concept of knowledge and was maximalist both in raising questions and in giving answers. He cultivated the ideal of rational knowledge. In accordance with classical philosophy he saw the substance of person as being ens rationale, a being realizing himself in a disinterested search for a theoretical truth, whose highest expression is philosophy. He stressed the epistemological and methodological plurality of knowledge and distinguished (with Kant) a material and formal part of knowledge, assuming that the formal element manifests itself as the logical form in the formal procedures of the (scientific) cognitive processes, that is in the (scientific) method and the (scientific) language. Making many attempts at a methodological characterization of different types of cognition and knowledge he distinguished — besides commonsense knowledge that lies at the bottom of any other type of knowledge — the scientific, philosophical and theological knowledge. None of them can be reduced to other type of knowledge, because each of them has its own problems, goals and methods. At the top there is a kind of sapiential knowledge which is much more than a simple generalization of all particular kinds of knowledge.

Believing that the task of methodology is to be a help to all types of cognition, S. Kamiński was interested not only in the methodological (formal) dimension of science (in the scientific method, language and the structure of science) but also in its epistemological and cultural dimensions. In the spirit of the Lvov-Warsow school he emphasized the need for methodological reflection in every type of scientific work because every time questions are asked, definitions, distinctions, and divisions made, there is a need for arguments and reasoning. A rational, critical and responsible study of each type of knowledge is decisive for intersubjective meaningfulnes and verifiability of scientific theories.

S. Kamiński was practicing a form of philosophy of scientific method. He claimed that the main task of methodological reflection is to study the (mainly not evident) methodological and philosophical presuppositions of the scientific method, as well as to criticize any attempts of ideological exploitation of science to aims other than scientific. He emphasized the mutual dependence of philosophy and science but he did not explain that dependence in details. Not only does the concept of philosophy depend on the concept of science prevailing at a given time but also the way how science is done is conditioned by philosophy. For instance, the metaphysics ultimately explains the world (saying it is either monistic or pluralistic) and at the same time provides the ultimate foundations for scientific knowledge. Philosophy is present in science itself and in views (theories) about it. A scientific study free from assumptions is a methodological myth because behind every great scientific theory there is

some philosophy largely unrecognized by the scientist. It is therefore impossible to study philosophy of science without some philosophical preconception of science itself; it is impossible to examine the subject matter of science a-philosophically.

In the tradition of the Lvov-Warsaw school, S. Kami ński initially used the term general methodology of science to specify his own interests in science; later, under the influence of analytic philosophy, he left it out in favour of the term philosophy of science or even theory of science. Not always consistently, he distinguished methodology of science (sometimes he also used the term general methodology of science) which has to study what is common to all sciences, from methodologies of sciences (from a particular methodology of science) which studies what is specific to each of the particular sciences. He distinguished two principal concepts of the term methodology of science: 1) narrow (somehow a classical one and somehow neopositivistic concept of the sense of the logical theory of science) whose methods consist mainly in logical analysis and reconstruction of research activities and their codification. It aims at the constructing general models of optimal (rational and efficient) scientific procedures and at their justification with respect to the goals of science. Thus, it is a descriptive, explanatory and practical discipline because it justifies the reconstructed or projected scientific methods; 2) broad concept in the sense of philosophy (theory) of science as the edifice of all philosophical, logical and humanistic interests in the phenomenon of science.

S. Kamiński had also difficulty in ordering the meanings of the term philosophy of science. He distinguished at least three (two metaobjective and one objective) meanings of this term: 1) the broadest (scientistic) where philosophy of science is located on the borderline of philosophy and science. It belongs at the same time to philosophy, logic and metascience and can have either a strictly philosophical (epistemological) character, more humanistic- practical (as a science of science) or mainly formal character (as a logical theory of science). This kind of philosophy of science includes general methodology of science and logical semiotics, methodology of natural sciences and philosophy of nature, and methodology of humanities and methodology of philosophy; 2) more narrow and proper (classical) meaning where the term philosophy of science refers to the theory of science considered as an entity, to the theory of scientific knowledge (its origin, limits and value), and to a theory that ultimately explains science as a domain of culture (especially trying to determine the position of science in culture and its role in the contemporary world); 3) objective meaning when philosophy of science tries to answer questions about what is matter, time, space, structure, aim (finis), determinism, functionalism, etc.

For many reasons S. Kamiński was convinced of the necessity and legitimacy of pursuing many types of scientific research. He claimed that this broad approach helps in understanding the meaning and place of science in culture (in understanding of the scientistic- technical mentality and the cult of experts), in theoretical explanation of nature and foundations of scientific knowledge, in demonstrating the integrative function of methodological reflexion for the unification of specialistic sciences and for cooperation of scientists, as well as in emphasizing the practical importance of the methodological awareness for various sciences. In the case of philosophy, methodological reflection is usually the only way to control philosophical theories.

Grouping various metasciences (sciences on science) according to the ontological point of view and to methods with which the sciences are studied, S. Kami ński arrived at a typology which was typical for him. He distinguished three main types of sciences on science: the humanistic (history, sociology, psychology, economy and politics of science), the philosophical (ontology, epistemology, the narrowly conceived philosophy of science, and the philosophy of culture), and the formal (logic of scientific language, formal logic, theory of scientific argumentation and reasoning and methodology of science). Admitting that the

choice of terms: methodology of science, philosophy of science, theory of science, seems to be a matter of national custom or even convention, S. Kami ński stressed again and again that the study of the nature of science should take into account all aspects of science: the logical, humanistic and philosophical; but most important is the philosophical (epistemological) aspect of study.

The methodological interests of S. Kamiński, to which his historical interests are subordinated, were directed mainly to the philosophical — and more precisely — the epistemological dimensions of science. He therefore postulated a philosophy of science as an autonomous discipline dealing with the ontological and epistemological foundations of science (sciences). He himself practiced the philosophy (methodology) of science for the purpose of stating the external and internal presuppositions of science and understanding the various concepts and conceptions of science, »X-raying« them from the point of view of the classical philosophy, which defined the constant framework of all his methodological studies. Seeing the ambiguity (analogy) of main philosophical and methodological notions, S. Kamiński claimed that the task of a methodologician was, among other things, to detect this ambiguity and to evaluate in a possibly neutral, disinterested way the epistemic (formal) value of theses and theories put forward by various sciences and types of philosophy. Even if the methodologist qua methodologist does not give direct significant answers to questions put by scientists and philosophers, he can nevertheless, equipped with formal instruments delivered by the development of logic and methodology, study and disclose the presuppositions that lie at the bottom of the solutions of some scientific or philosophical problems and he can evaluate the logical and methodological value of proposed scientific or philosophical theses and theories, as well as formal correctness of arguments given for their justification.

S. Kamiński was interested in science from many angles and on many levels: descriptive, explanatory, evaluative and normative. He emphasized the meaning of science as an important cultural and social fact. As an epistemic optimist he believed in the cognitive possibilities of man and treated science as a natural prolongation of commonsense knowledge and as an eminent achievement of the human beings. The methodological aims of S. Kamiński were partially normative as he sought to develop evaluative standards of scientific knowledge. By examining the nature of science he hoped to detect what made the hard core of science. Against the background of classical philosophy as a background and its broad concept of knowledge as episteme (so he knew a priori what a »good science« was) he wanted to determine the methodological standards of scientific knowledge. He was prescriptive in his intentions as he recommended standards by which scientific knowledge should be evaluated. At the same time S. Kamiński tried to uncover the methodological standards and procedures that actually form scientific practice. This is independent of the fact that the scientists in question may have been explicitly aware or unaware of them.

According to the classical approach S. Kamiński was mainly interested in this: what in the stormy and changing vicissitudes of the evolution of science and of the concept of science was constant and what he called, after the classical philosophy, the nature of science. He stressed that which was common to various sciences and not which differentiated them. Rejecting Th. Kuhn's thesis of paradigm incommensurability, he believed that even if there have been many essentially different concepts of science, nonetheless there remains between them a genetic identity, a bond between succeeding concepts, and a functional identity, that there is a permanence in function that they have in culture. The aim of science was always to conceptualize methodologically and to explain rationally what was acquired by experience, and to unite in a systematic and deep vision of reality the different acts of cognition so they could somehow serve people. Perceiving various links between philosophy and science, S. Kamiński warned against isolationism in science. As a philosopher he wanted to find a remedy for the ongoing specialization in science, for the epistemic disintegration of sciences

or rather for the disintegration of the scientific view of the world. He therefore stressed the unity of scientific knowledge but at the same time the plurality and the methodological autonomy of particular sciences.

His understanding of science indebted S. Kamiński to contemporary philosophy and to the classical philosophy. He distinguished (at least) three concepts of science: 1) the broadest, in the classical, platonic-aristotelian sense of episteme, i.e. as well justified, empirical-rational knowledge, distinct from doxal knowledge; (empirical) sciences, philosophy and theology belong here as well; 2) a more narrow concept, referring only to real (empirical) sciences: the natural and human (social) sciences; 3) the narrowest concept, which he rejects because of its scientistic narrowness, where the concept of science is referred only to natural science or exclusively to physics.

The nature of science was determined by S. Kami ński from the point view of its subject matter, aims, methods, logical structure and genesis. The question of what science is concerned with, i.e. what is its subject matter, is a philosophical question, it presupposes an appropriate understanding of the nature of the world. S. Kami ński opted for a pluralistic approach to the world: the principal object of science is the objective world but so are subjective states of man and products of his mind and his language. The best diagnostic test of the scientific character of science is the scientific method. Also here — rejecting the scientism (i.e. the view, that the scientific method and knowledge is the pattern and the measure of each knowledge) — S. Kamiński takes a pluralistic attitude. Accepting that the scientific method is not simple, that there is not one uncomplicated ideal way of doing science, and that because of the multiplicity of questions and scientific aims it would be difficult to construct one universal scientific method as a uniform set of rules for every kind of science, S. Kami ński assumes that different subject matter and different goals of scientific cognition require different research strategies and types of cognitive procedures. One manifestation of S. Kamiński's methodological pluralism is his antinaturalistic position in the theory of the humanities where he supported the thesis of their methodological autonomy with regard to natural sciences. Closer to the philosophical cognition and knowledge, the humanities do not meet and can not meet the conditions imposed upon the natural sciences, as they differ from them in subject matter (the world of culture) and hence in method (understanding, interpretation) used.

In the spirit of explanatory realism S. Kamiński treats scientific knowledge realistically. The main task of science is to explain observed data. Scientific cognition is objective even if reality can be grasped not only by direct observation but also indirectly. S. Kamiński claimed that both the concepts and the statements specific to physic are neither simple empirical nor simple a priori. Realizing its cognitive aims science connects the objective world and the subjective factors of cognition by its observational-theoretical language and therefore the scientific system (scientific theory) comes into being as if by a dialogue between the mind and the facts. Scientific cognition never consists in copying the »ready« world grasped by the senses but rather in interpretation in the form of a scientific theory.

The methodological aspect of science manifests itself by respecting methodological rules; the logical character of science is secured by appropriate methods of formulation and justification of scientific statements and theories. Generally speaking, scientific statements and theories have to be obtained by explicitly given methods that are in accordance with the methodological rules that can be applied in a certain domain of knowledge, justified in an intersubjectively verified way, i.e. independent of any emotional-volitive states of the subject, and expressed in an intersubjectivly meaningful language. S. Kamiński was a methodological purist and demarcationist; he demanded that the methodological autonomy of each science must be respected because this helps to control its results. Yet he was not an extreme

demarcationist, for he believed that the border between even the opposite types of knowledge was not obvious. Similarly, ascribing different methodological standards to philosophical and scientific knowledge, he conceded that in concrete cases it is difficult to indicate the borderline between philosophy and empirical science.

The views of S. Kamiński on the place and function of the concept of truth in science went through some evolution. He was persuaded that the search for truth can not cease to be one of the main aims of science as truth is a fundamental value satisfying the person's natural intellectual desire to know truly the world. S. Kami ński always pleaded for the classical (correspondence) concept of truth according to which truth directly belongs only to statements (propositions). Scientific theories are true only indirectly. Initially, S. Kamiński accepted that the statements of empirical and theoretical physics are absolut and objectively true as well. In the course of time he realized a controversial character of the concept of truth in science, that the contemporary philosophy of science does not treat truth as a principal value and the aim of science. He accepted that in science a moderate active role of mind is present, the influence of a conceptual apparatus on scientific results is a fact moreover that truth of scientific theses is neither the object nor the goal of physics but that the truth is postulated but not guaranteed. Following other philosophers of science S. Kamiński accepted the thesis that the criterion for the scientific character of knowledge — rather than traditional truth and certainty — is the strongest justification of theoretical statements based on proper results of observation.

S. Kamiński paid a lot of attention to the category of rationality and to the role of rational factors in scientific knowledge; he detected them mainly in the theoretical dimension of science. After studying the criteria of rationality in philosophy of science during the first three decades of our century, he discovered that rationality as a philosophical problem appeared only at the beginning of the twentieth century. He saw three traditional controversies in the history of philosophy: between rationalism and empiricism (apriorism and aposteriorism) as a controversy about the source of knowledge; between rationalism and intellectualism as a controversy about the cognitive faculties and between rationalism and irrationalism as a controversy about valuable knowledge, i.e. its ultimate foundations.

Distinguishing metaphysical rationalism (a teleological order of the world) and epistemological rationalism (knowledge based on senses and reason but independent from emotional and volitional states of the subject), S. Kami ński connected the rationality of science with epistemological intellectualism: the view of the intellect as a third, along with senses and reason, intuitive, self-reflexive and by this fact self-controlling cognitive faculty, mediating, among other things, the dialogue between empirical and theoretical factors in science. He believed that intellectualism overcomes the difficulties connected with the search for the principle of induction and its justification. If empiricism is not supported by intellectualism, science remains a set of disconnected data (»facts«). Rationalism alone, when it minimizes the cognitive role of senses and experience, leads to idealism. For this reason, S. Kamiński rejected both narrow inductivism of the positivists for it did not allow general knowledge and Popperian fallibilism and probabilism for they ascribed a provisional character to scientific knowledge.

S. Kamiński accused the contemporary philosophy of science of narrow rationalism which does not see the essential plurality of rational knowledge and accepts as valuable knowledge only one — scientific — type of knowledge. Since S. Kamiński acknowledged the rationality of empirical sciences, which is different from the rationality of formal (deductive) sciences, to be a special case of rationality in general, he also allowed to conceive science as episteme (the medieval scientia) and to identify the rationality of scientific knowledge with its methodological character and with its broadly understood logical character. As the pronouncements of S. Kamiński show, science, regardless of its manifold limitations,

remained for him an ideal of rational knowledge and he always believed at heart that the aim of science is the true knowledge and that of philosophy is the true necessary knowledge.

As the leading function of truth in science was weakening, S. Kamiński opted for a kind of restrained cumulativism which does not presuppose a strict formal correspondence between the succeeding conceptions of science or between scientific theories but accepts a continuity of the scientific tradition, which manifests itself mainly in the objective goal of science: in searching for the most general and fundamental aspects of the reality, the goal which unifies science and allows it to explain and to understand that reality.

First of all, S. Kamiński was a historian of science, who tried to disclose the nature of science by studying changes of the concept and conceptions of science throughout history. He maintained that it was impossible to understand the contemporary situation of science without knowing its earlier stages of development. He studied not only the changes in the concept of science but also the theories about the science in the past. Holding the belief that the history of the concept of science intertwines with the history of philosophy, he showed how changing conceptions of philosophy influenced the changes of conceptions of science.

S. Kamiński proposed an innovative understanding of the history of the concept of science in its historical modifications. His main work, Science and Method. The Concept of Science and the Classification of Sciences, can be seen as an original attempt of a paradigmatic, more philosophical than historical and sociological, presentation of different conceptions of science. Making use of both the philosophical and historical perspectives to study systematically the nature of scientific cognition and knowledge, S. Kami ński observed certain tendencies in the development of science. The conception of science and of scientific tradition plays here the function of Th. Kuhn's paradigm. To establish the main tendencies in the development of science and in its conception S. Kami ński noted exactly all that was directly or indirectly involved in the long history of science. His ambition was to know all important events and stages in the history of the conception of science taking into account all available historical material, especially from the newest history and latest literature. He tried to highlight every of the more important authors, views, approaches, schools and ways of thinking. Because of this activity, his methodological works are a mine of information about various sciences and their methodological conceptions.

S. Kamiński distinguished four fundamental transformations in the conception of science during its history, determined by Aristotle, Galileo Galilei, A. Comte and K. R. Popper; four great conceptions (paradigms) of science are connected with their names: the classic, modern, positivistic and Popperian. The classical conception of unified science and uniform knowledge has its origin in the antiquity and was mainly the work of Aristotle. It is the conception of science as an intuitive-deductive cognition (philosophic-scientific) with the aim to grasp the essence of things (genetic empiricism and methodological intellectualism and rationalism). In the seventeenth century (Galileo Galilei and I. Newton), as a result of gradual emancipation of empirical sciences and development of mathematics, the conception of knowledge as a deductive theory which was empirically tested was created. This was supported by the results of a quantitative analysis of the world, made possible by the development and use of mathematics. However for S. Kamiński science still maintained the qualification of truth and of certainty because man, equipped with intellectual intuition, was constantly questioning his theories of the world.

The third conception of scientific knowledge was born mainly thanks to the positivists (A. Comte). Science should refer exclusively to the phenomena grasped by experience. The aim of science is to seize inductively the regularities of events and to test them empirically. Science is not interested in the question »why?« but limits its interest to the question »how?«. Valuable knowledge is only that which makes life easier and satisfies the basic needs of man. The fourth conception of science is elaborated by K. R. Popper. The starting point of science

are not mechanically assembled and dogmatically treated observations but creatively understood problems that are born on the basis of all existing knowledge (there is no dichotomy between empirical and theoretical part of knowledge). What is characteristic for scientific activity are bold general hypotheses tested and falsified by experience. The task of science is to find satisfactory explanations and to approach truth although not giving true theories about the world. The actual science is one of the possible sciences as a means to explain better and better the phenomena.

Even if S. Kamiński did not creatively practice contemporary formal logic, he had some ideas concerning modernization of the traditional (Aristotelian) logic of syllogism, on generalization of the laws of the logical square (figure of oppositions) in the language of the propositional calculus to all laws of the direct conclusion, on rules of syllogism for sentences with the negation of their subject, on showing the discrepancy between the traditional and modern quantification, on the analysis of the role (in logic) of the so called first principles of thinking. He studied also some philosophical implications and consequences of G odel's theorem. He believed that the whole formal logic is a philosophical discipline in the broad meaning of the term philosophy because of its general and speculative as well as apodictic character and an universal use of its results. In his works on logical semantics S. Kami ński was concerned with a definition of formal logic, a function of operators in logic and commonsense language, linguistic fallacies, a conception of logical error and systematization of typical logical errors and fallacies.



The publications of S. Kamiński include over 350 positions. During his life he published three books: Georgonne'a teoria definicji [Georgonne's Theory of Definition], Lublin: TN KUL 1958; Pojęcie nauki i klasyfikacja nauk [Concept of Science and Classification of Sciences], Lublin: TN KUL 1961, 19813; and [together with M. A. Kr ąpiec] Z teorii i metodologii metafizyki [On the Theory and Methodology of Metaphysics], Lublin: TN KUL 1962. After his death five volumes of Collected Papers have been published: vol. I: Jak filozofować? [How to Philosophize? Studies in Methodology of Classical Philosophy], edited by Tadeusz Szubka, Lublin: TN KUL 1989; vol. II: Filozofia i metoda. Studia z dziejów metod filozofowania [Philosophy and Method. Studies from the History of the Method of Philosophizing], edited by Józef Herbut, Lublin: TN KUL 1993; vol. III: Metoda i język. Studia z semiotyki i metodologii nauk [Method and Language. Studies in Semiotics and Philosophy of Science], edited by Urszula Żegleń, Lublin: TN KUL 1994; vol. IV: Nauka i metoda. Pojęcie nauki i klasyfikacja nauk [Science and Method. Concept of Science and Classification of Sciences], edited by Andrzej Bronk, Lublin: TN KUL 1992); vol. V: Światopogląd - Religia - Teologia [Worldview - Religion - Theology], edited by Monika Walczak and Andrzej Bronk, Lublin: TN KUL 1998.

Andrzej Bronk

1See: Kamiński Stanisław - A Philosopher and Historian of Science, w: Władysław Krajewski (ed.), Polish Philosophers of Science and Nature in the 20th Century, Poznań Studies in the Philosophy of the Sciences and the Humanities, vol. 74, Amsterdam - New York, NY 2001, pp. 141-151.